WSOP 2017: Before the bubble, surveying the scene
Morning has become afternoon, and the show continues apace.
They're halfway through the day's scheduled five levels, although it's been made clear they could possibly go longer if needed in order to burst the money bubble here on Day 3 of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event.
In that relatively short amount of time -- five hours or so of poker -- nearly 1,000 players have been knocked out, the rest continuing the inexorable march toward the money.
The day began with nine Red Spades left among the 2,572 players remaining, and before the first level was done two of them had been sent railward.
After a strong first day-and-a-half Aditya Agarwal had a tough end to his Day 2C last night, and that slide slid further into today ending with ace-queen losing to king-nine and an early exit.
Meanwhile Fatima Moreira de Melo came in with a below average stack, and soon middle pair and a flush draw on the turn was encouragement enough to get her last chips in the middle. Her opponent had a set of jacks, the river didn't cooperate, and Fatima's run ended as well.
We started our tour visiting the other Red Spades with Jake Cody.
"I started with 108, I've got 135 now," he said, sitting behind his 135,000 without offering an elaboration of how he'd gotten from point A to point B. However, his tablemates laughingly expressed a willingness to fill in some details.
"He's played like sh!t today," one chimed in with a big grin. "He bluffed it off, then tripled up," claimed another. Cody grinned but kept silent on the matter, neither confirming nor denying. The truth must remain one of poker's mysteries, then.
Felipe Ramos continues to battle at what is one of the tougher starting tables of the day, one including Michael Tureniec, Dario Sammartino, Ty Reiman, and Sergio Castellucio.
"Some serious poker here, would have been a very sick tv table," Ramos tweeted during the day's second level, a little while after we spoke with him. He continues to maintain a stack of around 130,000, which is also where Jason Mercier remains.
Randy Lew, Andre Akkari, Barry Greenstein, and Liv Boeree all began in the Pavilion today, but those tables have all broken and the players scattered elsewhere. We've already tracked down Akkari with a plenty healthy 340,000 and Boeree -- earlier a short stack -- now up to 325,000.
Among the big stacks Denis Timofeev, third-place finisher in this year's PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event, has climbed up around 750,000, while a few others, including start-of-day leader Artan Dedusha, have pushed up over 800,000.
Meanwhile Matthew Moss started the day with a stack of just over 300,000 to sit inside the lower reaches of the top 200 to begin. Moss, some will recall, was one of somewhat prominent supporting cast during last year's ESPN coverage, getting into it occasionally with William Kassouf as the tournament wound down to the final three tables.
Moss ended up finishing 21st for $269,430, while Kassouf's dramatic kings-versus-aces bust came in 17th for $338,288.
Kassouf busted this year's Main Event yesterday, but Moss isn't going anywhere soon. The first two levels were especially good to the Londoner, and before the day's second break he became the first player in the 2017 WSOP Main Event to reach the 1 million-chip mark.
Allen Cunningham, Minh Ly, and Natasha Mercier have also been building stacks, while Billy Baxter, Adrian Mateos, and Mike Matusow were among the notables already busting early today.
The tournament clock has been in a relatively static way for the last hour, although just now clicked down to show 1,655 players remaining.
The goal of 1,084 is still a relatively long way off, though, destined to come well after the dinner break coming after the day's third level (Level 13).
The matinee show has been fun, but the evening promises even greater drama. Stay tuned.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.